We are extremely proud to announce SWEEP’s successes at the University of Exeter’s inaugural Knowledge Exchange Awards ceremony held in the Great Hall on Thursday evening, 20th October 2023.
Over 150 projects were nominated and awards were presented to winners in seven categories by a panel of industry experts including senior staff from GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) and PraxisAuril. The judges agreed that the nominees all exemplify ‘life-changing’ research collaborations between researchers and organisations, which have made an outstanding impact on society, health and the environment.
The whole SWEEP team won the prestigious award for ‘Knowledge Exchange Team of the Year’, led by Prof Ian Bateman and represented on the night by Dr Dawn Scott, Rebecca Abrahams and Prof Melanie Austen, along with some of our key partners. SWEEP’s win demonstrates the strength of collaboration between the University of Exeter, University of Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, showcasing the impressive level of knowledge, skill and expertise, translated into real world impact, by SWEEP’s academic teams, project partners and the SWEEP leadership and impact delivery teams.
“SWEEP has used a unique mix of cutting edge environmental and economic research to provide policy, business and community solutions which both enhance the environment and improve the economy and human wellbeing.” Ian Bateman, Director, SWEEP.
Professor Richard Brazier’s team won the ‘Sustainable Futures Award’ with The Return of the Beaver project and its influence on national beaver reintroduction policy. Dr Roger Auster’s PhD, Renewed Coexistence: Human dimensions of reintroducing the Eurasian beaver into England scooped the ‘Bright Futures Award for Student Innovation’ with Sophie Corrigan’s PhD Evaluating and maximising the environmental benefits of seaweed farming in the South West also nominated in this category.
Auster led on social research for the nationally recognised River Otter Beaver Trial (ROBT), which delivered a land-mark Government decision to permit England’s first wild breeding population of beavers for 400 years to remain permanently. This research defines a new concept; “renewed coexistence” and provides a comprehensive evidence-based understanding of the human dimensions of beaver reintroduction, which is now directly contributing to more robust UK policy and practice in this field.
Corrigan’s work is delivering significant benefits for industry partners and is informing UK policy and best practice around seaweed farming. This aquaculture PhD project aims to assess the ecological impacts of seaweed farming for fish species of commercial and conservation importance while working closely with farmers to develop sustainable, ecosystem approaches to this emerging UK aquaculture sector.
We anticipate SWEEP’s legacy will be to further strengthen our partner collaborations, building on what has already been achieved and delivering even greater, more-sustained environmentally-led impact both in the South West and beyond. “SWEEP brought together a fabulous mix of real world business and policy decision makers and researchers. In particular the energy of the early career researchers, the SWEEP ‘Impact Fellows’, was crucial to delivering this success.” Ian Bateman.
The annual University of Exeter Knowledge Exchange Awards celebrate the many ways that researchers and professional services teams are taking research into the wider world. See the Knowledge Exchange full list of winners and short winning films.
Image: Jim Wileman, 2022